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Healthy Mothers, New Mother Health and Wellbeing

If you have a new baby in the house, you don’t need to be told how much time and energy it takes to care for your baby and to keep to some sort of routine. If you have an older child or children in the house, then everything becomes even more difficult. Suddenly every member of the family needs more attention than ever. The health and wellbeing of you the mom goes right down to the bottom of the list. You need to try and avoid this happening.

As the mainstay of the family, your health and wellbeing should actually be at the top of the list:

o With a bit of luck, you will have had the time and energy to organize your home, freeze some home cooked meals and had your chores fairly up to date before the birth of your baby.

o If friends and family want to come and visit then - first you need to space out such visits and - secondly you need to rope them in to help. And don’t be shy to suggest ways in which they can do this: such as preparing a meal, doing shopping or chores for you or looking after any other children. Make it clear that you are recovering from childbirth and that you could do with all the help you can get. Nine times out of ten they will only be too willing to lend a hand. If you can drop hints about all this to family and friends even before your baby is born, then do so. It will avoid any problems later on.

o Remember that successful breastfeeding depends on the mom avoiding exhaustion. As your new baby is sensitive to your moods, any tiredness, or the feeling you are unable to cope, will inevitable cause your baby to suffer. You need to be very clear about your needs which are particularly important at this time.

o If your mother or mother-in-law or another close friend or relative offers to come and stay for a while, then gratefully accept such an offer. This will definitely ease the pressure off you and will help you get used to having the baby as part of your routine.

o Try to take breaks from taking care of the baby as and when you can. Never feel guilty about such a break as it is necessary for your mental and physical well being.

o Make sure you eat regularly and well and that you include fresh fruits and green vegetables.

o Keep meals simple or use prep-prepared foods to cut down on the time and energy spent cooking.

o Your night’s sleep is inevitably going to be disturbed in those early days (if not longer!). Having a sleep whenever your baby sleeps is going to help you keep going. When your baby is restless, use the time to put him in a sling so that you can do other essential chores around the home.

o Even if your partner is working, you can still enlist his help in sharing some of the baby care. Fathers these days are often much more “hands on” and relaxed about looking after babies than earlier generations. Make the most of this new found talent! Try to work out a timetable so that there is some time during the day or night when the baby becomes his responsibility, giving you some precious time to yourself for example to soak in the bath. Make sure Dad’s time is long enough to make you feel that you are having a break but not so long that Dad feels abandoned.

o Many babies are comforted by the sound of running water and will sit peacefully in an infant seat on the floor of the bathroom while you or your partner are having a shower or bath. You can chat to your baby at the same time too.

o Sometimes you can trade childcare with another new mom from your neighborhood so that one of you takes care of both babies for an hour or two while the other mom has a break. Then next time, swap it around.

o You need to create “couple time” too when it is just the two of you. Work out the things which you can still do even with a new baby around. Keep the lines of communication open so that you can discuss any minor issues before they become major problems. Try to make the talk sessions meaningful without them turning into complaining sessions as that won’t help either of you. And treat yourself to a babysitter so that you can have some time out together – even if it is just an hour or two.

With a little bit of luck and a lot of help, you can make those early weeks with your new born baby a little easier so that you the mom do not suffer. But don’t forget to seek medical help and advice if you are concerned about either your physical or mental health in any way.

Sometimes the “baby blues” can creep up on you so if you experience symptoms of depression after giving birth and you feel there is something wrong, tell someone close to you so they can get help and treatment for your from your midwife or doctor. Don’t just leave it. Having a baby is a time of great change so that new mothers experience biological, physical, emotional and social changes. So it is really not all that surprising that about 70% of women will experience an emotional let down (however slight) after giving birth.